Tec 4 Harold F. Madison
| Tec. 4 Harold F. Madison was the
son of Ruel & Anna Madison. He was born
in South Dakota on August 14, 1914, but he grew up
in Monona, Iowa, with his two brothers and three
sisters. He attended a parochial grade
school and went to high school in Luana. In
1937, his family moved to Milton Junction,
In November of 1940, Harold and his brother Ralph joined the Wisconsin National Guard's 33rd Tank Company in Janesville. His reason for doing this is that the draft act had passed and he wanted to fulfill his military obligation. He also was aware that the tank company had been federalized and was to train in Kentucky for a year.
At Fort Knox, Kentucky, Harold was trained as a
tank radio operator. It was his job to
keep in touch with company headquarters.
Next, he took part in maneuvers in Louisiana in
the early fall of 1941. After these
maneuvers, he learned that the 192nd Tank
Battalion had been selected for duty overseas.
The morning of December 8, 1941, Capt. Walter
Write informed his company that Pearl Harbor had
been bombed by the Japanese. The tanks
were put on alert and took their positions
around the airfield. At 8:30 A.M.,
American took off to intercept any Japanese
planes. Sometime before
noon, the alert was canceled and the planes
landed and were lined up near the mess
hall. Their pilots went to lunch.
The tankers were eating lunch when planes were seen approaching the airfield from the north at about 12:45. Many of the tankers counted 54 planes. The planes approached the airfield and watched hat was described as "raindrops" falling from the planes.
When the Japanese were finished, there was not
much left of the airfield. Since the
battalion's bivouac was near the main road
between the fort and airfield, the soldiers
watched as the dead, dying, and wounded were
hauled to the hospital on bomb racks and
trucks. Anything that could carry the
wounded was in use. When the hospital
filled, they watched the medics place the
wounded under the building. Many of these
men had their arms and legs missing.
The 192nd and part of the 194th fell back to
form a new defensive line the night of December
27th and 28th. From there they fell back
to the south bank of the BamBan River which they
were suppose to hold for as long as
possible. The tanks were at Santo Tomas
near Cabanatuan on December 28th and 29th
serving as a rear guard against the Japanese.
The tanks often were the last units to disengage from the enemy and form a new defensive line as Americans and Filipino forces withdrew toward Bataan. The night of January 7th, A Company was awaiting orders to cross the last bridge into Bataan over the Culis Creek. The engineers were ready to blow up the bridge, but the battalion's commanding officer, Lt. Col. Ted Wickord, ordered the engineers to wait until he had looked to see if they were anywhere in sight. He found the company, asleep in their tanks, because they had not received the order to withdraw across the bridge. After they had crossed, the bridge was destroyed A Company was next sent, in support of the 194th, to an area east of Pampanga. At Guagua, A Company, with units from the 11th Division, Philippine Army, attempted to make a counterattack against the Japanese. Somehow, the tanks were mistaken by the Filipinos to be Japanese, and the 11th Division accurately used mortars on them. The result was the loss of three tanks. The company rejoined the 194th west of Guagua. A Company was next sent, in support of the 194th, to an area east of Pampanga. At Guagua, A Company, with units from the 11th Division, Philippine Army, attempted to make a counterattack against the Japanese. Somehow, the tanks were mistaken by the Filipinos to be Japanese, and the 11th Division accurately used mortars on them. The result was the loss of three tanks. The company rejoined the 194th west of Guagua. A Company, on January 5th, was near the Gumain River attached to the 194th Tank Battalion. It was evening and they believed they were in a relatively safe place. Lt. Kenneth Bloomfield told his men to get some sleep. Their sleep was interrupted by the sound of a gun shot. The tankers had no idea that they were about to engage the Japanese who had lunched a major offensive.
The tankers sprayed a withering fire on the
Japanese. Taking heavy casualties, the
Japanese put down a smoke screen. Because
of the wind, the smoke blew back on their own
A Company, was sent in support of
the 194th, to
an area east
A Company with
194th east of
were often the
last units to
the enemy and
form a new
On January 28th, the tank battalions were given
the job of protecting the beaches. The
192nd was assigned the coast line from Paden
Point to Limay along Bataan's east coast.
The Japanese later admitted that the tanks
guarding the beaches prevented them from
The soldiers were hungry and began to eat
everything they could get their hands on to
eat. The Carabao were tough but if they
were cooked long enough they could be
eaten. They also began to eat horse meat
provided by the 26th U. S. Cavalry. To
make things worse, the soldiers' rations were
cut in half again on March 1, 1942. This
meant that they only ate two meals a
As a POW, Harold was first held at Camp
O'Donnell and next at Cabanatuan Camp #1.
He was sent out on the bridge building detail to
rebuild the same bridges the retreating Filipino
and American forces destroyed as they withdrew
into Bataan. While on the detail he became
ill and was sent to Cabanatuan.
It should be noted that the National Archives records of Americans who died during the World War II has Tec 4 Harold F. Madison as a second lieutenant.